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Bangkok Dangerous (THAI 1999)

Director : Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang
Cast : Pawalit Mongkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha, Patharawarin Timkul, Pisek Intrakanchit, Korkiate LImpapat and Piya Boonnak.

The story is of a deaf-mute hitman and his partner who are based in Bangkok. He is friends with his partner’s girlfriend who is a stripper at a local club. They go about their assassination business as usual as the boss climbs the underworld ladder and forms new alliances. Flashbacks explain how he got to this point in his life. He forms a relationship with a young woman from the pharmacy who is caring and innocent. The hunts continue as treachery begins. A big name hit makes him realize that good people are hurt by his actions. The first rule of assassination closes in on him as he strikes revenge.

by Edward Tang

It’s a lucky thing that I got to see two films that were basically around the same type of subject almost days apart. That subject is assassins. The first film that I saw was apply titled “The Assassin” which was really nothing more than a throwaway film. But onto Bangkok Dangerous, directed by the Pang Brothers (did a few flicks, probably the most known belongs to the horror flick “The Eye”) and for the most part grabs you. Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t really anything special and the acting is sub-par at best, I still got dragged into this thing.

Being a flick that looks low budget, and has that rough feel that makes this seem more like real events than a flick, gives this the power to succeed. I wasn’t bored in this film, and even being a huge action fan (which this film had a lack of), I was wondering how things were going to end and what the conclusion was going to be. I was satisfied and for once got my money’s worth. Even the motives of the main character at the end of the film seemed to be a cliched part of any movie that involves such a position (Think about The Killer for instance). Something worked in it that gave it a pace that never got boring and an actual connection with a few of the characters.

But being a low-budget film made it even better. If this flick was a full out action flick, it wouldn’t have worked. The story is very simple, Kong is a deaf mute hitman who eventually finds a girl that makes him connect with life, rather than sit on the cards and follow the same path. Yes, the cliche factor falls into heavy swing, a woman giving a man something to live for. THE POW-AH! But Kong had a two side factor to himself, being an assassin and being almost like a child. Him not being able to talk gives him an innocent factor about him, hell even the hot chick fell into his swagger after only meeting him a second time. I doubt I could walk up to a lady and get that same reaction. But with that innocence comes his shit side, and the girl witnesses this as well. He takes out two muggers that attack them in the park, and I don’t know what her reaction exactly was. She didn’t call the cops, but still didn’t want to see him. That innocence fell out of Kong. But not to a point, because Kong learned a little about life, he then began to realize what he did was wrong and began to regret it. Then his life wasn’t as important, he wanted to right what he did wrong and pay for his sins. The only time he speaks in the film is to mention this point, and eventually takes his own life.

Bangkok Dangerous is filled with quick shots and interesting direction. But it added to the film as far as the transition and the feelings about certain characters. The assassination scenes were to the point, no wearing disguises or massive shootouts, just to hit the target and be done with it. The Pang Brothers didn’t really leave room for any questions, they answered what you wanted to know. Something of Kong’s past, how he came into contact with his friends Joe and Aom and so forth. The story focuses on Kong throughout, he is the hero, and plays as such. Kong’s enemies weren’t really developed all that well, but they did the purpose as far as obstacles go. But the shaky camera angles and the odd shots (especially the first one in the bathroom) give this film a very real feel. I do have to compliment the directors for making this film incredibly easy to get into. Everything about the actions of the characters and eventual outcome of events all have a purpose. Hell even the training sequences looked more raw than some you’d see in Hollywood crap (Take a copy of the Stallone film “Assassins” and destroy it: God wants it that way).

The cast of Bangkok Dangerous isn’t really that impressive because there really isn’t much dialog or scenes in which the characters need to express emotion. One of my friends actually told me he watched it with the mute button on, and enjoyed it even more. I’ll have to give that a try. But in such, by just watching this film you could understand what is going on. The dialog is not an issue because there really isn’t any worth mentioning. There are a few other characters that are worth a mention, Kong’s friends Aom and Joe. Joe is basically his mentor and somewhat of cripple after getting shot in the hand. His part is to fuel Kong’s rage to eventually make him go on his final killing spree. Then Aom, who is Joe’s girl and her “rape” eventually plays a part in moving the story along. Both characters are useful to the plot but are sacrifices to show Kong that death causes more than just paychecks.

This film succeeds because it tells a simple story in an effective way. Shit, you could get a 100 million dollar budget and forget how to tell a story, yet these things that are probably made for bare bones, actually got the good part right. What sold this film to me was the end result. Kong had a simple message, his life wasn’t all extraordinary, and he was an assassin because he was deaf. But in the death of his friends and witnessing one of his works on TV, showing a family grieving over the death of a good man. That was enough, and the final shootout isn’t as much diving around and dodging gunfire, this was it. Kong didn’t really care that he was going to die, I’m sure that his conscious had finally got to him. But making sure that Fon knew that he was grateful for being kind to the guy, I mean that’s enough for me to take this film in.

I really enjoyed this film, I don’t know why. I’ve seen it before dozens of times, and probably with better action scenes. But how this story was told, with such an easy character to like, it would be hard for me not to like it. Check it out, and witness a good flick, hey maybe Thailand isn’t so bad after all. Clap Clap.

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 5/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- The finale including Kong and his final words to Fon.

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Bangkok Dangerous

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